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Entries in Ice Cream (13)

Thursday
May172012

Pumpernickel Ice Cream

*Post by Mark.

It's just about summer again, which means the days get longer and it's okay to overload on ice cream again. Here's an ice cream recipe I came up with after a friend randomly texted me with the idea to make pumpernickel into an ice cream. Always up for an ice cream challenge, I decided the best way to incorporate the bread's taste would be to steep it in the cream. For this little experiment, I used a fresh baked loaf of pumpernickel, but you can easily sub in pretzels or sugary cereals to make equally unique desserts. 

 

 

Here's what you'll need:

  • 2 cups whole milk, divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • pumpernickel bread, cubed
  • Maldon sea salt

First, heat one cup of the whole milk in a microwavable bowl with the sugar for about 2 minutes or until dissolved. Slice up your pumpernickel bread (about enough to fill a medium-sized bowl 1/3 of the way).

 

 

Next, combine the sugared milk, the remaining cup of milk, the cream and the pumpernickel in a medium bowl or container, cover and refrigerate for at least two hours. You'll want to shake or stir it along the way to make sure that the pumpernickel taste has been absorbed into the cream before moving on to the next step.

 

 

 

Strain the cream through a colander. You'll want to press down on the pumpernickel to get as much of that flavorful cream out of the bread as possible.

 

 

Finally, process the mixture in your ice cream maker. Just before removing from the machine, fold a little Maldon sea salt in to taste. Pumpernickel has such a unique flavor you don't expect to find in an ice cream, yet here it is. I was surprised at just how well this one turned out. As the days of summer get longer, we'll definitely be making this one again.

 

Monday
Oct032011

Candy Cap Mushroom Ice Cream 

*Post by Mark.

For this batch of ice cream, I was compelled to action by a summer's trip to San Francisco. It was on this trip that we purchased the wondrous candy cap mushrooms at Far West Fungi in the Ferry Building and their strangely bold maple aroma. There, we were able to sample Far West's Candy Cap popsicles, made from the creamy brilliance of Humphry Slocombe's aptly named candy cap ice cream, and grabbed a small bag of the dried mushroom to take back to Los Angeles for our own ice cream experimentation.

 

 

The oils from the mushrooms were potent enough to leave my hands smelling like maple for hours. No kidding about how potent the maple smell is here. Because of this, we didn't need to combine the actual mushrooms into the ice cream - we would merely steep the cream in the dried fungi. The end result is a complex, creamy, and spicy maple ice cream that retains a smooth texture without losing any flavor. 

 

 

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 ounce Candy Caps
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 extra large eggs 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 whole vanilla bean (or 1 Tbsp vanilla extract)  

My first step was to steep the candy caps (I used all but a few small pieces set aside for later) with 2 cups of heavy cream in a small saucepan. It was kind of sad actually- watching the dried fungi drown in a pool of liquid, never to be used again. I heated the cream over medium heat until the mixture began to steam. I turned off the heat, placed a lid over it and allowed it to steep for a 1-2 hours. Once the cream had been infused with enough of the mushroom's aromatic qualities, I strained the mushrooms and squeezed out as much of the flavorful cream as possible into a large bowl. 

 

 

As the candy caps and cream were nearly finished steeping, I began warming the milk, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla in a saucepan over low heat. As the milk and sugar warmed, I began whisking together the egg yolks in a bowl. 

Once the milk mixture began to bubble, I slowly poured a portion of the warmed milk into the whisked egg yolks, whisking constantly, then combined the warmed egg yolks and the entire mixture back into the saucepan.

I continued to cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring frequently until the mixture coated my spatula. Make sure not to overcook and scramble your eggs. Once the mixture was ready, I strained it (below, left) into the bowl containing the flavored cream and stirred. 

 

 

The final step isn't absolutely necessary, but I wanted to make sure my ice cream really captured the full essence of the mushrooms. Using four or five of the dried candy caps that had been set aside, I blended them with a portion of my mixture. Once the pieces were fully pulverized, I whisked this small batch back into the larger batch. Some people might find tiny bits of mushroom in their ice cream disagreeable. Others will appreciate how much flavor and aroma the bits bring to the ice cream. 

 

 

With all the ingredients finally combined, I chilled the total mixture for an additional few hours and then let the ice cream maker do its thing. I finished it with a little bit of sea salt to taste right before removing it from the machine.

 

 

The end result was gone in sixty seconds good. I'm not talking about the movie, that's just about how fast I ate all of it. Mushroom ice cream has no business being this good, yet somehow this sweet and savory maple dessert is the perfect ice cream for autumn. 

 

 

Friday
Jul012011

(How to eat your way through) San Francisco's Ferry Building & Farmers Market

*Post by Mark.

Staying in a hotel in San Francisco's Financial District has its perks. $50 overnight hotel valet parking isn't one of them, but being able to saunter over to the Embarcadero each morning to enjoy the Ferry Building certainly is. Even if we weren't already close, this is an essential destination. The Ferry Building hosts a variety of high-end culinary delights, be you in the mood for coffee, pastries, meats and cheeses, oysters or even dinner and drinks at fine-dining restaurants like Il Cane Russo or the Slanted Door. Come on Thursday or Saturday during the day, and in addition to the gourmet artisanal servings from the brick and mortars, a jaw-dropping farmers market wraps around the entire building that puts Los Angeles farmer's markets to serious shame. Keep your eyes peeled, you're likely to run into a slew of San Francisco's top chefs, rounding out their restaurants' market-driven menus for the week. 

 

 

On our most recent trip to the Ferry Building, we arrived with a checklist of destinations and every intention of turning a walking tour through the building and market into the perfect multi-course meal. 

 

 

We got an early jump on the masses, which meant we also needed to kick things off with a jump start of drip-coffee from Blue Bottle. This was clearly an idea that all the other early-risers in the building had. After about a half an hour in line (below, left), we were sipping away on our pour-overs (below, right).

 

  

 

We also snagged one of Blue Bottle's caramelized 'Beligian Style' leige waffles (below). The attractive treat was far more savory than sweet and gave us just enough fuel to forge towards our next destination.

 

 

Our next stop was Boccalone, San Francisco's premiere stopover for all things pork-related. "Tasty Salted Pig Parts" is both an efficient and enticing description of what you're getting yourself into.  We'd had more than our fair share of Boccalone meats the night before at Incanto (and if you squint, you can see a Food Network poster featuring Incanto Chef Chris Cosentino in Boccalone's store (below, left)). Before we left, we eyed their tasty meat cones (below, right).

 

 

We walked out with a handful of purchases (below) to bring back to Los Angeles with us. Angela found some head cheese, lardo (for only $20 more we could've gotten the Lardo Iberico de Bellota, which is imported from Spain and I'm sure would've totally been worth it) and some spicy Nduja sausage. The head cheese would make a great snack later, and Angela made a fantastic meal using the Nduja and lardo

 

 

Oh yeah... and I got one of their Salumi Cones (below) - the perfect pre-breakfast treat with which to stroll further down the Ferry Building. 

 

 

With *only* a coffee, waffle and meat cone in my stomach, I was starting to get hungry for breakfast and stopped in to Sidekicks. This is Cowgirl Creamery's sandwich-dealing right arm, located next door to the creamery. Their sandwich de resistance is their gooey grilled cheese sandwich. I was drawn in by the special egg and mozzarella sandwich (below), which featured hard-boiled farm eggs with creamy buffalo mozzarella cheese. Unfortunately, the sandwich was sorely lacking in the mozzarella department. 

 

 

Next up? Far West Fungi, the storefront for a family-owned farm, which is equipped to handle all of your fungal needs. 

 

 

Our main intention was to get our hand on some of their dried candy cap mushrooms (below, left). Candy caps have a unique taste and smell very reminiscent of maple syrup. The mushrooms have even inspired an ice cream flavor at Humphry Slocombe, and Far West carries pints and popsicles (below, right) of it in their freezer.  We just made our own version of the ice cream at home, but H.S.'s version is spot-on - smooth, creamy, and never in a million years would you guess it's made from mushrooms. 

 

 

On Thursdays and Saturdays the real treat is outside at the Farmer's Market. Not only will you find all the fresh produce you could ever dream of, there are also all sorts of vendors slinging lunch options. We were drawn towards 4505 Meats on the lookout for some of their world famous, melt-in-your-mouth chicarrones (we ended up taking three bags home with us). 

 

 

Their bacon maple breakfast sausage sandwich (below) comes with aged gruyere, an over-easy egg and peppercress, served on a housemade griddled bun. It was delicious, filling and messy.

 

 

I can't imagine a better way to spend a Thursday or Saturday morning then gorging myself on such inexpensive, amazing food with a backdrop as beautiful as this (below).

 

 

Boccalone on UrbanspoonFar West Fungi on UrbanspoonBlue Bottle Coffee on Urbanspoon

Cowgirl Creamery on Urbanspoon4505 Meats on Urbanspoon

Thursday
Jun232011

Olive Oil & Maple-Candied Bacon Ice Cream

*Post by Mark

If 'put a bird on it!' is the call of the Portlandia hipster, then 'wrap it in bacon!' has become the anthem of the unoriginal 'foodie', often typed in ALL CAPS and accompanied by excessive exclamation point usage. We are a culture so obsessed with the pliable porcine strips that we have food trucks offering the product undivided attention. We're wrapping matzoh balls in them for lack of authentic inspiration. Bacon Soda! Bacon Dental Floss! Bacon Birth Control! (Okay, I made the last one up... I think.)

Yes, we get it. Bacon makes everything better. (Well, maybe not everything. Last year I was coaxed into a latte with bacon in it. Needless to say, it was disgusting.) Which is why I'm not here to completely lambast its usage as an unoriginal gimmick. What keeps bacon from sinking to the ranks of over-saturated food trends like cupcakes and food trucks* is that it's so damn delicious and it goes so damn well with almost anything. Anyone whose ever tasted bacon and chocolate in the same bite will likely agree. 

So it was really only a matter of time before bacon found its way into my ice cream. For my first bacon attempt, I decided to candy the bacon and fold that into some rich olive oil ice cream (below).

 

 

I adapted my recipe from Ice Cream guru David Lebovitz's Olive Oil recipe in The Perfect Scoop

Ingredients for the Olive Oil Ice Cream:

  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 5 egg yolks (I used duck eggs)
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp bourbon

Ingredients for the Candied Bacon:

  • 6 strips thick cut bacon
  • 1 cup maple syrup (reduced to 2/3 cup)
  • 1/2 cup lt. brown sugar

Let's start out with the bacon. In his book, Lebovitz goes into explicit detail on his tests for candying bacon. His conclusion? Light brown sugar is the way to go. He also supposes that reduced maple syrup could possibly do the trick, but couldn't justify the loss of so much maple syrup. I decided to use both. I reduced a cup of (Trader Joe's, not my stash of the good Vermont stuff) maple syrup from 1 cup to about 2/3 and lathered it over top my bacon strips (Lebovitz warns that regular maple syrup mostly slides off during the cooking process). Then I sprinkled the brown sugar over the strips (below) and sent them into the oven at 375 degrees.

 

 

Cook the bacon until it's nice and crispy (below, left). If anything went wrong for me in this attempt, it was that I made the mistake of cooking the bacon how I normally like to eat it on its own. Sure, bacon is great when it's slightly undercooked, fatty, soft and juicy. Unfortunately, when you freeze that same bacon, it can become chewy and unpleasant. Err on the side of burnt and crispy and you'll be fine. Once cooked, I diced up the bacon strips and let them cool down (below, right).

 

 

Now for the olive oil ice cream. I decided to make this batch particularly indulgent and picked up some Shaner Farms duck eggs (below) from our local butcherettes at Lindy & Grundy. You'll also want to use a high quality olive oil (Lebovitz suggests using one that's fruity). Lebovitz also calls for a pinch of salt, but I figured we might get enough saltiness from the bacon, so I skipped the ingredient. 

 

 

I warmed the milk and sugar in a saucepan. In a separate bowl, I poured in the cream and set a mesh strainer on top. In a second bowl, I whisked together the egg yolks. The duck eggs provided slightly larger yolks then regular chicken eggs, but the real difference was just how difficult they were to crack open. The shell of a duck egg is like a steel fortress. 

I slowly poured the warm mixture into the whisked egg yolks, whisking constantly, then combined the warmed egg yolks and the entire mixture in the saucepan. I stirred the mixture over medium heat until the mixture coated my stirring spatula. Make sure not to overcook and scramble your eggs. Once the mixture was ready, I strained it (below, left) into the bowl containing the cream. I stirred in the olive oil as the bowl cooled in an ice bath (below, right).

 

 

 

I threw the bowl in the fridge until it was completely chilled, then poured it into the ice cream maker to do its thing. Towards the end of the process, I started dropping in chilled pieces of candied bacon, and then into the freezer it went.

 

 

The end result? The bacon and olive oil play really nice together (below). But this is really just the tip of the iceberg. I'm thinking about coating my bacon in dark chocolate next time. Or maybe an Elvis Ice Cream that pairs peanut butter and banana with the bacon. Root Beer Bacon?

 

 

*Speaking of food trends, is there a bacon cupcake food truck? I'm not even gonna google that, because there probably is. 

Tuesday
Jun212011

Humphry Slocombe - Ice Cream Becomes Eclectic in San Francisco's Mission

*Post by Mark.

If you are a regular reader of our blog (yes, I'm speaking to all 7 of you), then my recent obsession with making ice cream should be no secret to you. This obsession has encouraged me to experiment with interesting and unlikely flavor combinations and one of the most encouraging sources of inspiration is the flavor list at a tiny ice cream shop 350 miles north of us that I'd never been to. Of course, I'm speaking of Humphry Slocombe - a haven for ice cream lovers in San Francisco's Mission District. 

 

 

We were first introduced to the oddball flavors of Humphry Slocombe when a pint of 'Secret Breakfast' rode shotgun down I-5 to Los Angeles alongside @thedapperdiner. The rich contents paired corn flakes and vanilla with a boozy shot of bourbon. I was pleased to be reminded of it when I walked into their 24th street store and saw the Warhol-spoofing Campbell Soup paintings (below, left) boasting names of Jake Godby's more interesting flavors. Let's pray that Fetal Kitten (like the two-headed farm animal below, right) is only a joke, though given Godby's penchant for making unlikely ingredients palatable, I'd be curious to see what he could do with a prenatal animal and some Strauss Family Creamery milk. Judge away.

 

 

Shortly after opening shop, Humphry Slocombe's line was already snaking out the door. That didn't stop us from sampling the range of daily offerings. A few of the flavors we tried that didn't make the final cut included Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee, Black Sesame and Pepper-Mint. If you're lucky, a few of Godby's wilder flavors will be on tap. How does Foie Gras, Strawberry Candied Jalapeno or Boccalone Prosciutto sound? 

 

 

The lesser fan of sweets, Angela decided to stick with the sorbets. Her cup started out with a scoop of the "Jesus Juice" which mixes red wine and coke. I've been known to mock wine spritzers - which for all intents and purposes this is - but this was darn good. Good enough to make me ease off the spritzer crowd? So long as it's frozen in sorbet form and eaten with a spoon. Beneath the Jesus Juice was a scoop of Thai Chili Lime Sorbet, which provided less of a heat-punch than expected and was less sweet than its red cup companion, but still tasty.

 

 

I stuck with the heavier ice creams and first up was the Salt & Pepper. While salt is no stranger to ice cream flavors - not to mention, an ingredient I heartily embrace in my own ice creams - pepper is not. Friends who tried it had an adverse reaction to the mix. But I was happy to be the weirdo who actually enjoyed it, and with each taste the flavors made more and more sense. Beneath that was a scoop of the Peanut Butter Curry. The combination was perhaps a favorite of our group. With the savory taste of peanut butter giving way to a subtle aftertaste of the curry, this one could dangerously be consumed by the pintful if one was not careful.

 

 

I'm already looking forward to sampling more of Humphry Slocombe's flavors on my next trip north. Of course, we're not void of interesting flavor options in Los Angeles. Scoops and Scoops Westside serve up similarly ambitious - if not slightly-less-sweet - ice creams.

In the meantime, my next homemade flavor will be a direct Humphry Slocombe inspiration. To make my own version of their Candy Cap Ice Cream, I picked up some of the local candy cap mushrooms from Far West Fungi and plan to steep them in cream to get their signature maple syrup-y flavor into ice cream form. You can check back to see how the ice cream turns out and also to hear what we thought of the Humphry Slocombe Candy Cap Popsicles we tried at Far West's Ferry Building outpost. 

Humphry Slocombe on Urbanspoon